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Friday, 11 March 2016

Paying attention: Ethics

"All this should make us think a bit harder about how we as Christians approach the whole business of ethics. . . . if the desert literature is right, then we all need training in listening and attending almost more than anything else. Unless we are capable of patience before each other, before the mysteriousness of each other, it’s very unlikely that we will do God’s will with any kind of fullness. Without a basic education in attention, no deeply ethical behavior is really going to be possible; we may only keep the rules and do what is technically and externally the right thing. but that 'doing the right thing' will not be grounded yet in who we are, in the person God wants us to become, and it may not survive stress and temptation. It may also be quite capable of existing alongside attitudes and habits dangerous to ourselves and each other; it may not bring us life with and through the neighbour. Our Christian codes of behaviour quite rightly tell us that some sorts of action are always wrong - torture or fraud, killing the innocents or the unborn, sexual violence and infidelity - but to see why that is so requires us to go back a step or two to see why this or that action is bound to speak of inattention, why this or that action makes it impossible to listen for the word in another person. Unless we can grasp something of that, our ethics will never really be integrated with our search and our prayer for holy life in community."


Jennifer Warnes - Joan Of Arc.

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